Exploring Chicago: Wabash Avenue

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Food, music and architecture in Chicago: Wabash Avenue is a quintessential stop

With its distinctive skyline, food and style, Chicago is one city meant to be explored from top to bottom, east to west, north to south and everywhere in between. If you want to get a full sense for Chicago's natural rhythms, people and aesthetic, slip into a pair of comfortable walking shoes and stroll Chicago's Wabash Avenue.

Overview of Wabash Avenue

Wabash Avenue runs from east Delaware Place in Chicago's North Side community to the Ed Glancy Field in the south Bronzeville neighborhood. It begins parallel to the Magnificent Mile, one block west, crosses over the Chicago River through to the Chicago Loop. From there, continue south past the vibrant Art Institute of Chicago school while taking in the sky scrapers and unforgettable food at the many casual eateries along the way.

North Wabash Avenue

A walk down north Wabash Avenue will stimulate all of your senses. You'll see the John Hancock Center towering above, and contemporary office buildings beside historic hotels. If you're hungry, stop by Pizzeria Due on 619 N. Wabash around the corner from the original Pizzeria Uno. Enjoy the famous chain's tasty deep dish pizza without the long wait.

Trump International Hotel

You don't have to stay at the Trump International Hotel to tour this relatively new addition to Chicago's skyline. Located on the Chicago River west of Wrigley Field in the River North Gallery District, this luxury condo-hotel structure is home to a four star restaurant and a four star spa, as well as boutiques and the restaurant Sixteen, a trendy, intimate spot with a view of the river's entrance into Lake Michigan. Wander around the plaza or take a slight detour from Wabash Ave along the Chicago River Walk.

The Loop

Cross the river to South Wabash Avenue; welcome to the Loop or downtown district of Chicago. If you're standing in the Loop, you're in striking distance to some of Chicago's most famous skyscrapers and historic buildings. You can't miss the elevated "L" train that circles this district or the smell of inexpensive, delicious street food. Stop by Harold's Chicken at 2109 S Wabash Avenue for a mouth watering selection of okra, hush puppies and chicken wings.

Tommy's Gun Garage

Looking for a fun and silly night? Tommy's Gun Garage is an interactive dinner theatre. Enjoy a meal while gangsters and flapper dancers perform classic Cole Porter and Gershwin numbers in a theatre decked out as a 1920s speakeasy.

Buddy Guy's Legends

Known for its contribution to the Chicago music scene, Buddy Guy's Legends at 754 South Wabash offers a relaxing atmosphere with world class entertainment. The club was awarded Best Chicago Blues Club by Citysearch 2008 and has featured David Bowie, the Rolling Stones and ZZ Top as well many international blues artists. The Cafeteria-style tables and pool tables provide casual comfort while the Chicago and Cajun-style menu, including jambalaya and spicy frog legs, will have you perked up and asking for seconds.

Chicago is a charming city that pulls you back - one visit is never enough. Make a dream list of every public art sculpture (don't miss The Bean), food (Chicago-style hot dog!), the museums (Museum of Contemporary Art is a must see), the views (Hello, Signature Room at the Hancock Building) and the music scene -- you get the picture. It's difficult to make a dent in this sort of list once you're in a city that pulls you in every direction in the best possible way.

Exploring Wabash Avenue is a good starting point, but where will you end up? Could be a Ferris wheel or the zoo, a gourmet restaurant or a bench on the river with a handful of cheddar and caramel popcorn, a.k.a. Garrett's "Chicago Mix".

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